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Scout's Notebook: Solid Showing In The Secondary


OXNARD, Calif. – Not much of a turnaround today.

The Cowboys are on the cusp of their first preseason game of 2018, and they'll undoubtedly want to get off their feet before they head to San Francisco on Wednesday. With that in mind, they're holding a morning practice on Tuesday.

With an early practice on the books, I wanted to make sure to get my Monday notes on the record before the team takes the field. Here's what I saw from the evening practice:

  • Anthony Brown is not about to give up his position to Jourdan Lewis, despite what fans want. Brown continues to do things that won't give the coaches any reason to take him off the field. His interception of Cooper Rush during Blitz Period was a well-executed play. Brown positioned himself perfectly underneath Michael Gallup so when the ball came down, all he had to do was extend his hands and the ball fell right into them. This was back-to-back days where Brown had come up with an interception.
  • Jaylon Smith saved the day for the defense on a toss sweep to Ezekiel Elliott that would have gone for big yards. Smith was aligned slightly inside to Connor Williams, so when the ball was snapped, he was on a dead sprint and was able to cross Williams' face to get to the outside before Elliott was able to turn and start down field. It was a combination of Smith's instincts and his increased mobility, which allowed him to make the stop.
  • Geoff Swaim had an outstanding reach block on Joe Thomas to get Tavon Austin around the corner on the jet sweep. Jaylon Smith actually took a really good angle to the ball, but Austin was able to out run him.
  • One of Dak Prescott's best traits is his ability to throw the ball on the move, especially running to his left. Scott Linehan called a play where he moved the pocket in order for Prescott to make a quick throw to Allen Hurns on the outside. Hurns had a step on Jourdan Lewis, but the ball was a little high and behind him. Lewis was able to close the ground and get his right hand in on the play to make it a contested pass. Hurns was unable to come up with the ball before landing out of bounds.
  • How do you get receivers open on crossing routes? You use picks and rubs to throw the defensive backs off. That's exactly what Blake Jarwin did to Byron Jones in order to hold him up for just a split second to allow Allen Hurns to get a step on him. Prescott knew where he wanted to go with the ball just as soon as Jarwin and Hurns crossed.
  • Charvarius Ward once again had another solid day of practice. Ward has shown an ability to defend balls down the field at various points. Today he was able to knock down a pass intended for Lance Lenoir on a curl route. As Lenoir began to come back to the ball, Ward was in his hip pocket knocking the ball away with his left hand.
  • Speaking of Lance Lenoir, he hasn't had many drops in camp but he had a bad one on Monday, once again working against Charvarius Ward. Lenoir did a good job of driving Ward off the ball and gaining separation -- only to have the ball go right through his hands about head high.
  • Good battle during the Compete Period between La'el Collins and DeMarcus Lawrence. Collins was able to show some nice patience, allowing Lawrence to throw two quick moves before he became engaged on the block. Lawrence, realizing what was happening, altered his pass rush to counter. By stopping and then restarting again, he threw Collins off balance. It appeared that Lawrence might have been clear but Collins made one final lunge to keep him away from the quarterback.
  • I never really thought of Kavon Frazier as a cover man, but he did manage to hang with Dalton Schultz by adjusting with him in route. Schultz tried to spin away from him but Frazier was right on top of him and ready for the ball. Schultz, buckled trying to make the catch as Frazier hammered his arms driving the ball to the ground. As physical as Frazier is, to see him cover consistently would be a nice weapon for this defense to have.
  • Haven't said many positive things about Kony Ealy, but he made a veteran play to stay home at his left defensive end spot to stop Ezekiel Elliott on the shovel pass. It appeared that the offensive line had the play well blocked but Ealy didn't get influenced to the outside but instead was able to slide to his right to touch Elliott down.